Best Dubai Experiences

What you MUST do while you're here...
Tuesday , 25 November 2008
Capoeira Feel the beat. This Brazilian art form (introduced by African slaves in Brazil) is growing in popularity throughout the UAE. Two people try to outdo each other with creative self-defence moves. It looks like a fusion of break-dancing and karate, but also accompanied by some really infectious beat-driven Brasilero music and song. Where: Classes are usually on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Blackbelt Centre, Sheikh Zayed Road (5.30pm-7pm and 9.30pm-11pm) and Safa Park from 7.30pm-9pm. Alternatively, they run on Fridays and Saturdays on the lawn at Gate 3, Jumeirah Beach Park (5.30pm-7.30pm). But your best bet is to give the trainers a ring to find out where and when the next class will be held. Call Vik on 050 295 0219; Bojana on 050 344 1465 and Tiina on 050 435 8096. What you’ll need: A bottle of water. What to wear: Loose fitting sportswear is your best bet, what with all the high kicks, back flips, squats and other manner of artistic body-flailing you’ll be doing. You’re going to need room. There are special Capoeira shoes worn by the pros, but you’re fine with just trainers. Why you’ll love it: As amazing as it is to watch the pros effortlessly dodge each other as if they have the gift of clairvoyance, it’s just as exciting to do it yourself. Even if you are just spectating, at least one part of your body will end up getting involved in the urban masterpiece; tapping, clapping or nodding to the beat. Also, if anyone has a problem with dancing and cart-wheeling their way into size 8 pants, say ‘I’. Didn’t think so. Price: Dhs75 per class.
Capoeira Feel the beat. This Brazilian art form (introduced by African slaves in Brazil) is growing in popularity throughout the UAE. Two people try to outdo each other with creative self-defence moves. It looks like a fusion of break-dancing and karate, but also accompanied by some really infectious beat-driven Brasilero music and song. Where: Classes are usually on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Blackbelt Centre, Sheikh Zayed Road (5.30pm-7pm and 9.30pm-11pm) and Safa Park from 7.30pm-9pm. Alternatively, they run on Fridays and Saturdays on the lawn at Gate 3, Jumeirah Beach Park (5.30pm-7.30pm). But your best bet is to give the trainers a ring to find out where and when the next class will be held. Call Vik on 050 295 0219; Bojana on 050 344 1465 and Tiina on 050 435 8096. What you’ll need: A bottle of water. What to wear: Loose fitting sportswear is your best bet, what with all the high kicks, back flips, squats and other manner of artistic body-flailing you’ll be doing. You’re going to need room. There are special Capoeira shoes worn by the pros, but you’re fine with just trainers. Why you’ll love it: As amazing as it is to watch the pros effortlessly dodge each other as if they have the gift of clairvoyance, it’s just as exciting to do it yourself. Even if you are just spectating, at least one part of your body will end up getting involved in the urban masterpiece; tapping, clapping or nodding to the beat. Also, if anyone has a problem with dancing and cart-wheeling their way into size 8 pants, say ‘I’. Didn’t think so. Price: Dhs75 per class.
Arabic Cooking Course Learn to make all your Arabic favourites, from hummous to shawarmas. This three-hour course isn’t just about learning to cook a handful of delicacies from different Arabic regions, but it also introduces you to their special customs and traditions; a truly cultural experience that will have you opening up your own quaint café in no time. Where: Cooking Sense, Dubai Media City. Call (04) 882 1295 or book online at www.cooking-sense.com What you’ll need: Merely to re-familiarise yourself with your kitchen. All the ingredients, recipes and equipment are brought straight to you. What to wear: Stick to your comfy kitchen garb: a tank, loose fitting pants or denim and flip-flops. A good tip for those yet to be introduced to the stoves? No hanging fabrics. This isn’t a lesson in pyrotechnics. Aprons are provided. Why you’ll love it: The look on your hubby’s face when you tell him you’re staying in tonight for dinner? Priceless. Price: Dhs1,200 gets you a full range of ingredients and recipes for up to four people. Additional participants are Dhs200 each.
Arabic Cooking Course Learn to make all your Arabic favourites, from hummous to shawarmas. This three-hour course isn’t just about learning to cook a handful of delicacies from different Arabic regions, but it also introduces you to their special customs and traditions; a truly cultural experience that will have you opening up your own quaint café in no time. Where: Cooking Sense, Dubai Media City. Call (04) 882 1295 or book online at www.cooking-sense.com What you’ll need: Merely to re-familiarise yourself with your kitchen. All the ingredients, recipes and equipment are brought straight to you. What to wear: Stick to your comfy kitchen garb: a tank, loose fitting pants or denim and flip-flops. A good tip for those yet to be introduced to the stoves? No hanging fabrics. This isn’t a lesson in pyrotechnics. Aprons are provided. Why you’ll love it: The look on your hubby’s face when you tell him you’re staying in tonight for dinner? Priceless. Price: Dhs1,200 gets you a full range of ingredients and recipes for up to four people. Additional participants are Dhs200 each.
Belly Dancing Somehow, Brazilian native Villa Tenorio manages to detach her hips from the rest of her body to create some seriously sensual coin-belt-jangling moves. How does she do it? Dancing, performing, managing and teaching her own school in the entrancingly exotic art of belly dancing for many, many years. Gain a fraction of her experience (or more if you think you can outdo her passion) by signing up for a couple of her classes. Where: 4th Floor Health Club
Belly Dancing Somehow, Brazilian native Villa Tenorio manages to detach her hips from the rest of her body to create some seriously sensual coin-belt-jangling moves. How does she do it? Dancing, performing, managing and teaching her own school in the entrancingly exotic art of belly dancing for many, many years. Gain a fraction of her experience (or more if you think you can outdo her passion) by signing up for a couple of her classes. Where: 4th Floor Health Club
Ceroc Ceroc is short for the French phrase ‘C’est le roc!’, which means ‘It’s rock!’ So, you get the idea. You’ll be learning some wild moves from the best in the UAE. Ceroc is a medley of salsa and jive, and just plain topsy turvy fun. Where: The Aviation Club. Things get into full swing for beginners at 8.30pm on Sundays and freestyle sessions start from 9.30pm-10.30pm. Intermediate classes are Tuesdays from 8.30pm-9.30pm, with routines from 9.30pm. Beginners, intermediate and advanced classes also take place at Long’s Bar from 7.30pm, 8.30pm and 9.15pm respectively. Call (04) 367 2217 or email winfo@cerocarabia.com for details. What you’ll need: You’ll need a partner but the class is organised so that there are partner rotations every couple of steps so no one remains a wall-flower. There are also experienced dancers called Taxi Dancers, who are there to dance with the newbies. What to wear: Whatever you do, ditch the skirt idea. Being flipped upside down by your partner while wearing one will do you absolutely no good. And it’s supposed to be fun, right? Opt for jeans or loose trousers and a cute tank instead. Smooth-soled shoes are your best bet for easier spins and all those tricky turns on the dance floor. Why you’ll love it: The twists and twirls. You’ll feel like a wee girl again.
Ceroc Ceroc is short for the French phrase ‘C’est le roc!’, which means ‘It’s rock!’ So, you get the idea. You’ll be learning some wild moves from the best in the UAE. Ceroc is a medley of salsa and jive, and just plain topsy turvy fun. Where: The Aviation Club. Things get into full swing for beginners at 8.30pm on Sundays and freestyle sessions start from 9.30pm-10.30pm. Intermediate classes are Tuesdays from 8.30pm-9.30pm, with routines from 9.30pm. Beginners, intermediate and advanced classes also take place at Long’s Bar from 7.30pm, 8.30pm and 9.15pm respectively. Call (04) 367 2217 or email winfo@cerocarabia.com for details. What you’ll need: You’ll need a partner but the class is organised so that there are partner rotations every couple of steps so no one remains a wall-flower. There are also experienced dancers called Taxi Dancers, who are there to dance with the newbies. What to wear: Whatever you do, ditch the skirt idea. Being flipped upside down by your partner while wearing one will do you absolutely no good. And it’s supposed to be fun, right? Opt for jeans or loose trousers and a cute tank instead. Smooth-soled shoes are your best bet for easier spins and all those tricky turns on the dance floor. Why you’ll love it: The twists and twirls. You’ll feel like a wee girl again.
Desert Camping Despite the endless construction, most of the Gulf remains sandy, untouched and perfect for pitching a tent and singing in front of a toasty fire. Where: There are no official camping sites in Dubai. However, the drive towards Hatta offers many potentials, as well as in the Liwa, Moreeb and Hameem Dunes. Not exactly camping savvy? The beach in Jebel Ali is quite a popular spot, where camping shelter, as well as your own shower, are provided. What you’ll need: Firstly, a permit is required when camping. Then, bring along an exoskeleton tent with a seam-sealed bottom to keep out the sand and creepy crawlies, sleeping bags, a first-aid kit, sun block, insect repellant, lanterns or flashlights (with extra fuel or batteries), your tasty particulars (most of which should be dry or canned), cooking and eating utensils, matches, wet wipes, garbage bags and more bottled water than you’ll possibly need. It’s definitely worth having a read through the UAE Off-Road Explorer, which offers lots of advice for safe and fun outdoor overnighting, including life-saving skills, maps and recommended spots. What to wear: Pack shorts, trousers and shirts made of light fabrics, swimwear, plus flip-flops or beach shoes, and trainers. You’ll also need a mesh-weave brimmed hat that will provide ventilation, as well as shade. Why you’ll love it: Tons of campers flock to Jebel Ali beach, so we imagine a beach party is inevitable at some point. Then, early morning dips, welcoming the day. Price: Fantastically free.
Desert Camping Despite the endless construction, most of the Gulf remains sandy, untouched and perfect for pitching a tent and singing in front of a toasty fire. Where: There are no official camping sites in Dubai. However, the drive towards Hatta offers many potentials, as well as in the Liwa, Moreeb and Hameem Dunes. Not exactly camping savvy? The beach in Jebel Ali is quite a popular spot, where camping shelter, as well as your own shower, are provided. What you’ll need: Firstly, a permit is required when camping. Then, bring along an exoskeleton tent with a seam-sealed bottom to keep out the sand and creepy crawlies, sleeping bags, a first-aid kit, sun block, insect repellant, lanterns or flashlights (with extra fuel or batteries), your tasty particulars (most of which should be dry or canned), cooking and eating utensils, matches, wet wipes, garbage bags and more bottled water than you’ll possibly need. It’s definitely worth having a read through the UAE Off-Road Explorer, which offers lots of advice for safe and fun outdoor overnighting, including life-saving skills, maps and recommended spots. What to wear: Pack shorts, trousers and shirts made of light fabrics, swimwear, plus flip-flops or beach shoes, and trainers. You’ll also need a mesh-weave brimmed hat that will provide ventilation, as well as shade. Why you’ll love it: Tons of campers flock to Jebel Ali beach, so we imagine a beach party is inevitable at some point. Then, early morning dips, welcoming the day. Price: Fantastically free.
GI Jane Boot Camp It’s time to whip that booty back into shape, military style. Don’t worry, you don’t have to shave your head or go through any painfully embarrassing initiation ceremony. It’s actually four weeks of supportive cheers and laughs; just with a little discipline, and a LOT of physical exertion thrown into the mix. Where: Umm Suqeim Open Beach and Safa Park. Contact Physical Advantage on (04) 311 6570. Current course timings: Dawn Patrol – Monday at 6am, Wednesday at 6am, and Friday at 7am – Umm Suqeim Open Beach; Morning Patrol – Sunday at 9am, Tuesday at 9am, and Thursday at 9am – Safa Park. What you’ll need: A ruthless desire (and cheerful enthusiasm) to shed the pounds and get in shape, fast! What to wear: Army green face paint and…Just kidding. You can wear your average gym kit: leggings/tracksuit bottoms/shorts, with t-shirt/ loose tank/ sports bra and trainers. Why you’ll love it: The jaw-dropping results and the great bonding experience it provides for you and your girls, and like-minded driven souls to keep in shape, post Boot Camp. Price: Dhs950.
GI Jane Boot Camp It’s time to whip that booty back into shape, military style. Don’t worry, you don’t have to shave your head or go through any painfully embarrassing initiation ceremony. It’s actually four weeks of supportive cheers and laughs; just with a little discipline, and a LOT of physical exertion thrown into the mix. Where: Umm Suqeim Open Beach and Safa Park. Contact Physical Advantage on (04) 311 6570. Current course timings: Dawn Patrol – Monday at 6am, Wednesday at 6am, and Friday at 7am – Umm Suqeim Open Beach; Morning Patrol – Sunday at 9am, Tuesday at 9am, and Thursday at 9am – Safa Park. What you’ll need: A ruthless desire (and cheerful enthusiasm) to shed the pounds and get in shape, fast! What to wear: Army green face paint and…Just kidding. You can wear your average gym kit: leggings/tracksuit bottoms/shorts, with t-shirt/ loose tank/ sports bra and trainers. Why you’ll love it: The jaw-dropping results and the great bonding experience it provides for you and your girls, and like-minded driven souls to keep in shape, post Boot Camp. Price: Dhs950.
Hot Air Balloon Adventure See the Gulf from a different perspective; from atop at 1000 ft. This balloon adventure is going to whisk you away on an adventure over the picturesque Hajar Mountains. Then touch down for light refreshments and to claim your certificate. It runs from October to May, when the weather is better for ballooning. But places have been filling up since June, so you had better hurry. Where: You’ll first meet at Festival City outside Plug-In’s at 5am during the winter months (around 4am during the summer). Then you will be escorted to the desert takeoff point. Once there, it’s up, up… until touchdown at around 9am. Call Blue Banana on (04) 369 7378. What to wear: Dress warmly, in a light jacket, jeans and flat shoes or trainers. Up there’s bound to be quite cold, especially at that hour. Why you’ll love it: Imagine your sunkissed skin under a mammoth Arabian sunrise, and the spectacular desert panorama below you. This is the best wake-up call you’ll ever receive; even better than a good coffee. Price: Dhs950 per person. Please note that this is not an exclusive flight and you may be joined by up to 24 people. Exclusive charters are available.
Hot Air Balloon Adventure See the Gulf from a different perspective; from atop at 1000 ft. This balloon adventure is going to whisk you away on an adventure over the picturesque Hajar Mountains. Then touch down for light refreshments and to claim your certificate. It runs from October to May, when the weather is better for ballooning. But places have been filling up since June, so you had better hurry. Where: You’ll first meet at Festival City outside Plug-In’s at 5am during the winter months (around 4am during the summer). Then you will be escorted to the desert takeoff point. Once there, it’s up, up… until touchdown at around 9am. Call Blue Banana on (04) 369 7378. What to wear: Dress warmly, in a light jacket, jeans and flat shoes or trainers. Up there’s bound to be quite cold, especially at that hour. Why you’ll love it: Imagine your sunkissed skin under a mammoth Arabian sunrise, and the spectacular desert panorama below you. This is the best wake-up call you’ll ever receive; even better than a good coffee. Price: Dhs950 per person. Please note that this is not an exclusive flight and you may be joined by up to 24 people. Exclusive charters are available.
Kite Surfing Don’t be afraid of the piping hot summer days. Get out and explore them the wettest and windiest way we know how. Where: Kite Beach (go figure!). Also known as Wollongong Beach, it’s the only beach approved by the Dubai Municipality for kiting. What you’ll need: If you want to get more involved in the sport, you would need to become a member. The first few classes can be taught sans membership though, as long as you’re under the guidance of a teacher, says Astrid, one of the female instructors. What to wear: Go for something water friendly like beach shorts and a rash vest or a wetsuit for the chillier months. An impact vest will be provided for the lesson, which will help you float once in contact with the water. It gets quite tiring trying to hang in there, after all. Why you’ll love it: Three words: sun, sand and sea. What more does a girl need? Also, sometimes members get together for a kite surfing trip to Oman for its impressive gusts. Price: Dhs250 per person per hour.
Kite Surfing Don’t be afraid of the piping hot summer days. Get out and explore them the wettest and windiest way we know how. Where: Kite Beach (go figure!). Also known as Wollongong Beach, it’s the only beach approved by the Dubai Municipality for kiting. What you’ll need: If you want to get more involved in the sport, you would need to become a member. The first few classes can be taught sans membership though, as long as you’re under the guidance of a teacher, says Astrid, one of the female instructors. What to wear: Go for something water friendly like beach shorts and a rash vest or a wetsuit for the chillier months. An impact vest will be provided for the lesson, which will help you float once in contact with the water. It gets quite tiring trying to hang in there, after all. Why you’ll love it: Three words: sun, sand and sea. What more does a girl need? Also, sometimes members get together for a kite surfing trip to Oman for its impressive gusts. Price: Dhs250 per person per hour.
Movies under the Stars Who wouldn’t want to savour the cooler nights of Dubai by spending them outdoors on a rooftop? Garnish that already perfect star-studded evening with a couple of blockbuster movies, a hot dog or kebab, and a chilled drink. What more does a girl need? Where: Rooftop Gardens, Pyramids, Wafi City. Opening hours: every Sunday from 8pm to midnight (from October to May only). Call (04) 324 4100 for details. What to wear: No stiff-backed theatre seats here; you’ll be lounging on massive M
Movies under the Stars Who wouldn’t want to savour the cooler nights of Dubai by spending them outdoors on a rooftop? Garnish that already perfect star-studded evening with a couple of blockbuster movies, a hot dog or kebab, and a chilled drink. What more does a girl need? Where: Rooftop Gardens, Pyramids, Wafi City. Opening hours: every Sunday from 8pm to midnight (from October to May only). Call (04) 324 4100 for details. What to wear: No stiff-backed theatre seats here; you’ll be lounging on massive M
DON’T LEAVE DUBAI WITHOUT…. Visiting Ski Dubai Need a break from the sunshine? Then pull on your ski pants and swoosh down the slopes at Ski Dubai. Grab a group of girls and book a lesson, or if you’re already a ski bunny, just glide down the slopes before stopping off halfway at the Avalanche Café for a hot chocolate with marshmallows. Where: Ski Dubai, Mall of the Emirates. Opening Hours: Saturday to Tuesday 10am to 11pm; Wednesday to Friday 10am to midnight. What you’ll need: A pair of sturdy legs. Everything else is provided including skis, ski boots, a warm jacket and trousers, ski poles, and disposable socks (snowboard boots and snowboard if you prefer), and even a meal. What to wear: On top of the kit they provide you with, you’ll need gloves and a hat which are not provided for hygiene purposes. But you can find some at the sports shop upon entering. Why you’ll love it: Telling your friends back home that you encountered two opposing climates in the same place, on the same day, minus the pricey airfare. Price: Dhs180 (practice for two hours). Visit www.skidxb.com for details.
DON’T LEAVE DUBAI WITHOUT…. Visiting Ski Dubai Need a break from the sunshine? Then pull on your ski pants and swoosh down the slopes at Ski Dubai. Grab a group of girls and book a lesson, or if you’re already a ski bunny, just glide down the slopes before stopping off halfway at the Avalanche Café for a hot chocolate with marshmallows. Where: Ski Dubai, Mall of the Emirates. Opening Hours: Saturday to Tuesday 10am to 11pm; Wednesday to Friday 10am to midnight. What you’ll need: A pair of sturdy legs. Everything else is provided including skis, ski boots, a warm jacket and trousers, ski poles, and disposable socks (snowboard boots and snowboard if you prefer), and even a meal. What to wear: On top of the kit they provide you with, you’ll need gloves and a hat which are not provided for hygiene purposes. But you can find some at the sports shop upon entering. Why you’ll love it: Telling your friends back home that you encountered two opposing climates in the same place, on the same day, minus the pricey airfare. Price: Dhs180 (practice for two hours). Visit www.skidxb.com for details.

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